Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died from his injuries after being shot
A 51-year-old man faces first-degree murder charges after shooting three men in an Olathe, Kan., bar Wednesday night, police say, reportedly telling two of them, local Garmin engineers from India, to “get out of my country.”
One of the Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died in the hospital later from his wounds.
Authorities would not classify the shooting as a hate crime, but federal law enforcement officials said Thursday they are investigating with local police to determine if it was “bias motivated.”
Adam W. Purinton, 51, of Olathe, was also charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder for shooting two other patrons at Austin’s Bar and Grill: Alok Madasani, 32, of Overland Park, Kan., and 24-year-old Ian Grillot, who tried to intervene.
Madasani had been released from a hospital Thursday and Grillot was continuing to recover.
Witnesses told the Kansas City Star and The Washington Post that Purinton was thought to have been kicked out of the bar Wednesday night before the shooting took place. “He seemed kind of distraught,” Garret Bohnen, a regular at Austin’s who was there that night, told The Post in an interview. “He started drinking pretty fast.”
He reportedly came back into the bar and hurled racial slurs at the two Indian men, including comments that suggested he thought they were of Middle Eastern descent. When he started firing shots, Grillot, a regular at the bar whom Bohnen called “everyone’s friend,” intervened.
In a public video released by the University of Kansas Health System, Grillot spoke from his hospital bed about the night. When he heard shots being fired, he crouched under a table. Hearing nine shots, Grillot expected the man’s magazine to be empty, but soon realized he must have miscounted.
“I got behind him and he turned around and fired at me,” Grillot said. The bullets went through his right hand and chest, fracturing a vertebrae and his neck, and barely missing his carotid artery.
“I’m grateful to be alive,” he said. “Another half inch and I could be dead or never walk again.”
He spent the night in the hospital praying that the two other men had survived the shooting, he said. When he saw Madasani enter his hospital room Thursday morning, “it put the biggest smile on my face,” Grillot said. He soon found out that Madasani’s wife is five months pregnant.
“I was just doing what anyone should’ve done for another human being,” Grillot said, his eyes filling with tears. “It’s not about where he’s from or his ethnicity. We’re all humans. I just felt like I did what was naturally right to do.”
Just after midnight Thursday, Purinton, a Navy veteran, IT specialist, and former pilot and air traffic controller, was taken into custody about 70 miles away in Clinton, Mo., authorities told the Associated Press.
Assistant Clinton Police Chief Sonny Lynch said an Applebee’s bartender called police because Purinton told him he had been involved in a shooting, according to the Associated Press. He appeared before a judge in Henry County, Mo., and waived his right to fight extradition. His bond was set at $2 million, and authorities said they hope to have him back in custody in Kansas soon. He has not filed a plea and no attorney for him could be located.
In a news conference Thursday, officials declined to go into detail regarding the shooting and could not speak to whether it might be considered a hate crime. Olathe Police Chief Steven Menke said local and federal law enforcement “will continue to investigate any and all aspects of this horrific crime.”